The Nizams’ co-owner shed light on how they seek to grow with the knowledge and expertise that their international partners will share.

Ahead of the 2020-21 Indian Super League season, Hyderabad FC created a lot of buzz among fans and neutrals alike with their off-field developments. The fact that they brought in Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund as their partners was in itself a big thing for Indian football. The club also managed to bring in another internationally-acclaimed outfit Marbella FC in a landmark partnership. But, how do Hyderabad FC stand to gain from these associations? Co-owner Varun Tripuraneni, who recently appeared on Khel Now’s Beyond The Scores podcast, explained just that.

He shed light on how the Nizams seek to grow with the knowledge and expertise that their international partners will share.

“When we started from scratch at Hyderabad, we knew the focus would be on grassroots and youth development. So, we knew that we wanted a partner and that we needed to do it with the best in business,” began Varun Tripuraneni.

He explained how his personal rapport with the Borussia Dortmund executives came handy. “We had had a lot of interactions during my time at Kerala (Blasters) and that definitely made it easier. Moreover, they also knew that working with a club which is just starting off would be easy. That it would be much better to understand and implement things in the right way and right from the beginning.”

The former Kerala Blasters CEO explained how thoughts and ideas were exchanged while associating with the partners. “We didn’t rush. Dortmund have been very selective with partners in India and I think they’ve been very clear with the route they want to take. Some clubs are looking at equity partnerships. But, they were very clear that their focus is only on grassroots and youth development.”

Clarity between ISL clubs and foreign partners is the most important part, according to him. That is how, he asserted, Hyderabad FC’s philosophy matched with BVB and they were assured of a successful collaboration. “The key is to know what exactly you want from the partnership and have the right expectations. If we go with the expectations that we want so many players playing abroad every few years, then I think that would be unrealistic.”

WATCH: Hyderabad FC co-owner Varun Tripuraneni on Khel Now’s Beyond the Scores podcast with Ashish Negi

So, while the plan for grassroots and youth development with BVB was in place, Varun Tripuraneni stated how the club felt the need for more. He illustrated how they felt the need to provide more opportunities to the young players from the reserves as well as those from the U-15 and U-18 age groups to get good exposure abroad.

“At Marbella FC, from the Spanish Segunda Division B, we thought it would be the sort of exposure some of our young players required. We’ve seen a lot of foreigners coming from the Segunda Division and Segunda Division B. That is why we felt it would be the ideal league or club for us to partner with,” he explained.

“That partnership will give a lot of opportunities to our youth players, especially from the U-18 and Reserves, to actually train with Marbella’s Reserves and youth teams,” he quoted.

That wasn’t all, Varun Tripuraneni also revealed the club’s parameters to measure the success of these partnerships in the next 2-3 years. After all, with the way Indian football has grown in the past few years, a regular follower would be very much eager to see the results of big developments like these.

Now, coach education is one of the key aspects that will be put into practice during the partnership with BVB. The co-owner insisted that coach education programs are a necessity in the city. “So, for the BVB partnership, the parameters to measure the success would be the number of coaches that come through the ranks. More participation of kids at the grassroots level.

“We plan to organize a lot of grassroots leagues in the city in the next couple of months when the pandemic situation is well under control,” he further added.

On the other hand, with Marbella, he demonstrated the foresight of having players graduating from the U-15s to the U-18s and eventually to the first-team. “The talented ones would get an extra bit of exposure there. We really hope the stint there would last for 2-3 months or much longer, which would in-turn better the performances,” said Varun Tripuraneni.

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